Books set in houses on lakes
August 15, 2018 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I would like to read books set in lake houses. Have you read any that are especially good? Genre isn't terribly important; limitations inside.

I am looking for recommendations for books set in houses on lakes (the lake part is important - I'm not really looking for ocean beach houses). I tend to enjoy literary fiction but am not very fussy about genre.

My main limitations are that there not be overt cruelty or gore (which might cut out most thrillers), and most importantly that no kids die. The death of kids cannot be part of the book in any way. I found a copy of The Lake House by Marci Nault in a little free library on my street and discovered a chapter in that part of the character's dark mysterious past involved the death of her daughter (and maybe granddaughter?) so back it goes to the free library.

Searching for this in Google gets hundreds of results, many of which are actually set in beach houses on the ocean or about the architecture of houses in Cape Cod or something, so I thought I'd ask for recommendations of things people here have actually read and enjoyed.
posted by SeedStitch to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Carol Goodman does this a lot but I cannot remember which of her books have children (generally teens) who die. (In particular, The Lake of Dead Languages definitely has children who die.) They are not gory nor, I think, particularly cruel.
posted by jeather at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen takes place in part at a Minnesota lake house. There may not be enough lake house content, but no children die. There are deaths, though.
posted by cabingirl at 9:25 AM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by Don Pepino at 9:26 AM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Out Stealing Horses is great.
posted by pinochiette at 9:36 AM on August 15, 2018

the lilian jackson braun 'cat who' mysteries alternate between the main character living in a converted barn, condo and a lake house depending on the season.
posted by noloveforned at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bear by Marian Engel? It's weird as hell but there are no kids in it and it has a very recognizable lake house feeling for a certain value of lake house (super isolated, lots of bugs and locals who aren't necessarily up front with the narrator.)
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:37 AM on August 15, 2018

Children's books: Gone Away Lake and the sequel, Return to Gone-Away, by Elizabeth Enright. The lake is a bog at the time the books are set, but it's still a good picture of a historic lakeside community.
posted by paduasoy at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2018 [7 favorites]

On Golden Pond was a play, and a movie, but there is a book version as well. I have zero idea if it's any good, or what horrors the plot might hold.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2018

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood takes place in a cabin on lake in Quebec. It's Canadian Gothic-esque, so it's a bit on the thriller-y side, but to my memory there is no violence or gore.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh and no kids die. There are no kids in the story.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2018

Walden? It’s not set directly on the pond, but...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:06 PM on August 15, 2018

YA: A Handful of Time by Kit Pierson is very good, and is set at a lakeside cottage.
posted by ficbot at 5:21 PM on August 15, 2018

Have you tried using the database NoveList, very likely available online via your local library? You can search for novels in all kinds of detailed ways using it and may want to give it a try.
posted by Philemon at 6:09 PM on August 15, 2018

I found this list of books set in the English Lake District. Of course I can't tell if any trod on forbidden territory. There are plenty of good suggestions in the comment section, too.

The associated blog looks like it might appeal as well.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:33 AM on August 16, 2018

Sweet Tea & Sympathy by Molly Harper. Only adults die and we only know because of the funeral home the family runs.
The first story in Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories really stuck with me. There's a lake monster and [spoilers] no kids die, though at first it seems as though one does. He's fine, though, keep reading.
Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger takes place at a manor house next to a pond.
Same with Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer, or at least, half of it is there. (Two characters are corresponding, one from home, the other from London.)

These are basically all romances and all ones that I enjoyed a lot.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:11 PM on August 16, 2018

I think The Blue Castle might count? I love this book :)
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:31 AM on August 19, 2018

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